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review 2018-10-31 20:10
Review: The Dazzling Heights
The Dazzling Heights - Katharine McGee

I received a copy from Netgalley.

 

Yes, I know I’m shamefully behind in finally getting around to reading this. I’ve had a review copy since forever, and it was something I had immediately preordered after reading the first one. Though I needed a refresher and reread the first book, before finally getting around to the second book.  The UK covers are just so sparkly and pretty.

 

A fun follow up to The Thousandth Floor – pretty much high school soap opera, all taking place around a thousand floor  tower mega structure in 2118. The glitz and glamour is awesome, and the technology is fascinating and I want it!!!!

 

Following on shortly from the shock death at the end of book one, everyone who played a part is struggling to come to terms with the events, not helping that most of them are under the threat of blackmail, apart from Mariel who wants the truth about what happened to come out and those responsible to be punished.

 

In the meantime Avery continues her forbidden romance, Leda is as bitchy as ever, Watt is digging up dirt with the help of supercomputer implant Nadia. Yet can’t help fight is ever growing attraction to Leda, they don’t seem to like each other, but can’t keep their hands off each other.  Rylin finds herself with a scholarship to the exclusive school Avery and her buddies attend, along with Cord as well. Rylin and Cord are still at odds with each other. While attending the school Rylin discovers a gift for editing holovids.

 

This instalment introduces slippery new character Calliope, a girl with an attitude and a secret agenda of her own.

 

In a nutshell this world doesn’t require any thinking or particular deep plotting. It’s just plain fun. There’s lots of characters, multiple POV chapters. Once you get started it’s hard to put down, it’s additive, full of love, hate, drama, plot twists. Characters to love, characters to hate. Great writing. Great plotting. And not at all predicable. There’s such a way with the story telling that you just have to know what happens, even with the characters who aren’t likeable (*cough*Leda*cough*).

 

Currently reading the final instalment and really looking forward to see how things wrap up for everyone involved.

 

Thank you to Netgalley and HarperCollins UK, Children’s for approving my request to view the title.

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text 2018-09-07 10:06
Reading progress update: I've read 109 out of 454 pages.
The Raven Boys - Maggie Stiefvater

Third read of this wonderful book. This time I'm listening to it in audio then marking the pages in my paperback. (Reading and listening) and it may be one I've the best audio books I've ever heard. It's really atmospheric and the narration is amazing. The Southern accents are awesome.

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review 2018-08-30 21:00
Review: When Dimple Met Rishi
When Dimple Met Rishi - Sandhya Menon

I received a copy from Netgalley.

 

Another book I was a little apprehensive about since I’ve seen so many mixed reviews about it. Romantic comedies are not really my thing, but I really wanted to try this one and was so excited when I got approved on Netgalley.

 

Though it took me forever to get around to reading it and the paperback had come out so I wound up buying a finished paperback. I was so pleased at how much I wound up loving this book.

 

I saw a lot of talk on YA book twitter about people complaining when Dimple first meets Rishi she throws her coffee in his face (iced coffee) and how that made her unlikeable. Given the circumstances….I kind of applaud her for it.

 

Wen the novel starts Dimple has been accepted at Stanford and is totally thrilled about it, she also wants to go to Insomnia Con, a special programme/competition for designing an app. Some lady who’s famous to coders in the knowhow presides every year and Dimple is overexcited to go – just one thing to get out the way – convincing her parents.

 

Her parents are nice enough – hard working middle class people. Though Dimple’s mom doesn’t seem to get that Dimple isn’t interested in things like Indian make up techniques or finding an ideal Indian husband). The makeup techniques sound fascinating and learning little bits about other cultures is always really interesting. Yet they relent and let Dimple head for the convention.

 

On the other hand we have Rishi. His parents are very well do to and he’s also on his way to Insomnia Con for one reason only – to meet Dimple. Their parents have been talking…Rishi has his whole future planned, he’s going to MIT but already planning on how he’s going to woo Dimple and has ideas for how they will work together as a couple. While all this probably sounds cringeworthy the thing about Rishi is he’s such a sweetie. He was so nice and such a genuine person. He’s thoughtful and kind. He’s really ready to give this arranged thing a good go.

 

Dimple…not so much. So not surprising when she first meets Rishi and is clueless to everything else going…she is not amused. However, she does thaw towards Rishi as the convention gets going. Dimple is really smart and put a lot of thought into the app she wants to design. She’s creative and witty and awesome. She’s forward in some respects and reserved in other. I really liked her character.

 

Some of the technical side of the app building and the convention stuff was a little over my head as I know nothing about that sort of thing.

 

However the novel was so well written that it was easy to get into the flow and the spirit of things. The spark between Dimple and Rishi is just delightful as they navigate each other and the people at the convention. Dimple has a friend she’s made online Celia who is also attending the convention. They room together – but both are very different. Celia is a flirt and a rich girl who makes friends with a bunch of other wealthy students (who you sort of wonder why they’re there at all) and she wants to include Dimple in their outings. Dimple is clearly uncomfortable.

 

Of course in swoops Rishi to help. It’s so cute how they keep winding up together. Naturally nothing is ever smooth sailing, there are drama issues with Dimple’s own plans for her future and what Rishi has in mind for his. While their personalities, as different as they are fit together, their ideas for the future don’t mix so well. Rishi has an art talent – he’s an excellent artist and has designed a comic series of his own. He’s not interested in pursuing this brilliant talent of his as he’s got it in his head that an art career won’t provide a good future for him and Dimple. She’s pissy that he’s not following his dreams and doing what is expected rather than what he wants. Just as he got involved in her life…she takes things in her own hands for his talent.

 

Drama alert.

 

It was a tad predictable is the only thing that didn’t really land it a five star for me. Though I really really loved it. I loved the characters and the writing and the story and this is now an autobuy author for me. I already have her next book ready and waiting.

 

Thank you Netgalley and Hodder and Stoughton for approving my request to view the title.  

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2018-06-12 20:46
Review: More Than We Can Tell
More Than We Can Tell - Brigid Kemmerer

Review: More Than We Can Tell

 

I received a copy from Netgalley.

 

I loved the predecessor for this book Letters to the Lost, which introduced one of the main characters in this one. There was clearly so much more to Rev than was explored in Letters to the Lost so I'm so pleased he got his own book.

 

Major trigger warnings for abuse - mental and physical. 

 

This book was a tough and very emotional read. I could only cope with about 100 pages at a time. (Same way I had to read the first one) On the one hand we have Rev, an apparent tough guy who keeps to himself. He lives with his foster mother and father (who are some of the best YA parents ever).

 

 

The novel starts with Rev getting an unexpected letter from his biological father, a bible thumping preacher  who was put in jail for some serious abuse of his own son. He used region as a weapon both to psychologically manipulate and terrorise Rev as he grew up as well as an excuse for physical punishment. 

 

Rev hasn't spoken to him in years and lost all contact. Despite his tough guy exterior Rev is battling some very complex and conflicting emotions. Regardless of the suffering his father put him through something about his words in the letter still resonate. It's heart breaking to read about as Rev struggles with his feelings and what to do. While he's not telling his parents anything, he does have the support of best friend Declan who's there regardless of the time of day or night. 

(spoiler show)

 

On the other hand, we have Emma, a girl in Rev's class. Up until now they've never had reason to cross paths. Emma is a gamer who loves to code, she stays up late into the night gaming. She even created and launched a game of her own, which seems to have a lot of players. It's a secret she keeps from her parents, particularly her mom who doesn't seem to approve of her habit of locking herself in her room and spending all hours on her computer. Mom is an overworked doctor and kind of a bitch. Emma's father is a computer programmer for a big computer game company. Yet Emma seems almost embarrassed to tell him about her own coding skills. 

 

She's dealing with some serious harassment problems from one of the players in her game, a player who calls themselves 'Nightmare' and seems to hate the fact that she's a girl and she's the moderator and one in charge. The threats and messages are getting nastier and nastier. She can't seem to tell anyone other than her best friend Claire, and Ethan, another player she has a friendship and a strong connection with. 

(spoiler show)

 

There's tension between Emma's parents and it's really uncomfortable, so it's not surprising at all that Emma's on edge, especially with her own drama going on. She runs into Rev one night whilst walking her beloved dog, Texas (Texy). They have a brief conversation but there are clear sparks (even though neither realise it until much much later) they've started a dialogue. 

 

Things are getting more and more tense in both their home situations. Emma's parents are fighting more and more, the harassment from Nightmare is getting worse. No matter how much she bans him, he pops up again and again and is sending violent images through emails as well as nasty messages. Rev has a new foster kid living with his family, a young teenage boy named Matthew, who's moody and uncommunicative. He's getting more messages from his horrible biological father, mainly revolving around bible quotes that actually have Rev reflecting on his own behaviour and not in a good way. He's trying to be understand of Matthew's difficult circumstances but it's difficult and with other things going on...there's only so much anyone can take before snapping.

(spoiler show)

 

 

Both he and Emma continue to meet and talk, both in person and via texting and email. They have developed a friendship in which they can talk to each other about personal stuff and things they have difficulty talking about to other people. And of course the friendship turns into something deeper and more romantic. It's a slow burn romance and it's wonderful. They're both so considerate of each other. 

 

Things are going wrong and darker in both their lives, eventually the other's families learn of the friendship. Emma's so frazzled with her family troubles and online harassment she's taking it out on her best friend, who doesn't know what's going on. Her relationship with her parents hits rock bottom. She picks fights over stupid things with people who haven't really done anything wrong. 

 

And when something really bad happens to Emma towards the end of the novel, it's those people who figure it out and turn up and save her. While the danger Emma finds herself in is quite frightening, its a little predictable as to how it's going to turn out.

 

That being said, it's a really good read. It's a tough one that deals with some hard subjects yet manages to be uplifting in its own way. Brilliantly developed characters. This is the second book I've loved by this author which puts her on my auto-buy list. 

 

Thank you to Netgalley and Bloomsbury Publishing Plc (UK & ANZ) for approving my request to view the title.

 

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review 2017-07-07 11:46
Review: The Names They Gave Us
The Names They Gave Us - Emery Lord

I received a copy from Netgalley.

 

I had pre ordered this one ages ago, but I have a habit of pre ordering finished copies of Emery Lord books and requesting them on Netgalley as soon as I see them. Usually I start them as soon as I’m approved, but in this case it took me a while to get round to starting this one. Mainly because of the subjects it dealt with – faith and cancer.

 

While it took me a while to get into the novel, by the end I did love it to pieces, and as with every Emery Lord book I’ve read by the end I was in floods of tears. Beautifully written, and I thought it handled the tough subjects excellently. A+ points for diverse characters, transgender rep and friendships as well. The characters were fantastic and well fleshed out. The romance was adorable. The adults were likeable as well.

 

The novel tells the story of teenager Lucy who has learned that her mother’s cancer has returned. Lucy’s dad is a pastor, she’s very religious. She has a great relationship with her parents, she has a steady boyfriend of several years Lucas. Though on receiving the news, she falls to pieces. She starts to question her faith. It’s all handled very thoughtfully and manages to do it without being preachy at all. So bonus points for that.

 

Lucy’s parents run a Christian themed summer camp and she usually helps out as a councillor, but her mom convinces her to try being a councillor at the camp the other side of the lake, Daybreak. Which is a camp helping troubled children. Her mom thinks this may help Lucy deal with some of her own issue. She’s in pieces in private, but determined to put on a strong face around her parents. Though she’s acting out and getting overly amorous with the boyfriend. The boyfriend was also very religious and frankly, a bit of a dick. He was trying to be patient and understanding, but it didn’t come across very well – then – he puts their relationship ON PAUSE over the summer. Jerk.

 

Lucy is a bit reluctant to try Daybreak, she just wants to be with her mom. But she finds herself getting to know the other councillors her age, and dealing with the children, from all sorts of different backgrounds with all sorts of problems. As much as I liked Lucy and her voice I did find her to be kind of sheltered, maybe something to do with her deep religious beliefs. One of the kids, a girl of 14 is pregnant, and Lucy is quite shocked by this. She turns out to really connect to the girl and help her a lot.

 

Lucy makes friends in the camp, though the other councillors have known each other for years, she struggles to find her way into the close group of close-knit friends. It’s very sweet as she learns to accept the other kids who they are, find things in common with them, and gets to know them. She finds herself attracted one of the councillors her age, a boy named Henry. They bond and develop a close friendship with the potential for something more. Lucy has to figure out if she really wants to make the relationship with Lucas work, or go for something new with Henry. It works really well and adds a lot of depth to Lucy’s character as she struggles to make her decisions.

 

Lucy has to deal with a lot of different emotions and manages to handle them extremely well. She has her moments where she does fall apart. I did find I really liked her views on her struggle with her faith as well. A lot of it made a great deal of sense as she pondered it out. And there really were some beautiful passages on faith towards the end of the novel.

 

Tough subjects, but well worth reading.

 

I loved it.

 

Thank you Netgalley and Bloomsbury Publishing Plc (UK & ANZ) for approving my request to view the title.

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